Playing in the London O2 Arena does the Knicks and New York teams a world of good, improving to 3-0 when playing across the Atlantic. More importantly, Carmelo Anthony looks much better (now that he’s eating again), while Amare Stoudemire is much more involved in everything positive that happens.
I felt better than I was the last couple of games. I’m back eating right, eating what I’m supposed to be eating.
Anthony ended his no-carb, no-meat diet that lasted for a couple of weeks, and it seems it has a direct effect on whether the Knicks win or not and more importantly, play well or not. Anthony, just elected to start in yet another All-Star game, finished the 102-87 win over the Detroit Pistons with 26 points, on 8-19 from the field, having a deja vu feeling from the Summer Olympics which went very well for him and team USA.
It felt good out there. I definitely had some flashbacks out there. Running out there on the court, just being in the O2 Arena.
This was the 25th consecutive game in which Anthony scored at least 20 points, finishing with 18 after the first half.
He got off to such a hot start, and then he just kind of played as the game came to him. He was getting double-teamed and I thought he did a great job in sacrificing the basketball, which he has to do.
People make it sound like such a wonder that Anthony is actually giving up shots when he posts up and gets double-teamed. A) It’s what every basketball player, no matter how big the superstar, should be doing. B) He’s not doing it as much as some might want you to think. Anthony is still averaging 21.7 field goal attempts per game, 2.3 more than his career average. He’s not exactly a reformed man. He just has players that know what to do when he does give it up: Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton (when he returns) and recently back from injury, Iman Shumpert.
Shumpert was one of the more surprising rookies last season. After averaging 9.5 points per game last season, his debut after missing the first 37 games was a good one: He finished with 8 points after 15 minutes on the floor. While Felton is out, Shumpert, a very good defender and highly entertaining player, brings back some speed and individual ability to the Knicks’ backcourt which was missing when only Kidd was on the floor.
Amare Stoudemire becoming more aggressive and dominant is another small victory for the 25-13 Knicks, winning their last two games. He scored a season high of 17 points on only 20 minutes, most of them coming from the line, making 11 of 12 shots. It was his third consecutive game of 50% shooting or better, starting to take it easy with the contested jumpers and going to work where it’s easier for him to operate. Since making his comeback in January, Stoudemire is averaging 10.4 points while shooting 45.6% from the field.
It’s easy to forget, but the Knicks are still not the complete team they thought they would be. Raymond Felton is out till late January to early February; Rasheed Wallace may not play again this season. Stoudemire is still not himself while Iman Shumpert is just coming back. Their January late December slump isn’t the real, full Knicks team. Things look like they’re falling into place, and starting to get better.